Joanna Wawrzyńczak is a designer who graduated from the Fashion Department of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
At first, she wasn’t interested in design at all, but she did like fashion sketches. Yet when she was accepted into two faculties – fashion illustration and fashion design – at the London College of Fashion, she chose the latter. She decided it would be much more interesting to get to know the whole process of creating clothes.
It became clear to Joanna Wawrzyńczak that she wanted to become a fashion designer after seeing Alexander McQueen’s collection Plato’s Atlantis. However, she was straight out of high school, it was her first time in London and she felt homesick. Therefore, when it turned out that the first fashion department was about to open in Poland, she immediately returned home.
As a student of the Fashion Department at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, she got an apprenticeship in McQueen’s studio – she worked in the print/textiles department and was involved with everything that pertains to fabric. Interestingly, in her first year at the Academy, textile design was her weakest subject and she barely passed it. Yet in her second year, she discovered crocheting and weaving at traditional craft workshops in the Suwałki Region and gained a passion for making fabric from scratch. However, her graduation collection was far from any ethnic inspirations. She was moved by the Suprematists, especially Kazimierz Malewicz. She operated within four geometrical designs (line, cross, square and circle) and a limited colour palette (black, navy blue, cerulean and white). Jewellery also played an important part, made of modular Lego pieces or integrated into the fabric in simple geometrical shapes from Plexiglas. Selected pieces of jewellery were presented at the international exhibition ENCOUNTERS 2 in Budapest and the whole collection was shown at the semi-finals of the MUUSE x Vogue Talents Young Vision Award Womenswear 2014 Competition. The collection created in Martina Spetlova and Damien Ravn’s studio was awarded a distinction during the Coming Out Best Diploma’s ASP 2014 at the Academy of Fine Arts.
Although during her studies she had planned to stay and work in Poland, after graduation she decided that she wanted to continue her education in order to have a better chance on foreign markets. She was accepted into the University of the Arts London's Central Saint Martins for a master’s degree in fashion. She had previously been at the university at the Knitwear For Fashion summer course, where she'd won a place as a prize in the category of Fashion Design at the 7th edition of Art & Fashion Festival organized by Grażyna Kulczyk.
She is learning quickly – her designs and ideas are evolving, she is working on her style, and she isn’t afraid to start anew.
Some people work with form, for me, clothes should speak in a more graphic sense, I like shapes and colours. I don’t make up a whole philosophy to it, I’m just supposed to like something visually as a picture, that’s it.
Awards and distinctions:
- Grand Prize at the 7th edition of Art & Fashion Festival organized by Grażyna Kulczyk, in the category of Fashion Design, 2013. (The prize – Knitwear For Fashion – a summer course at Central Saint Martins College, was the reason she then later applied for a master’s degree there)
- Semi-finalist at the MUUSE x Vogue Talents Young Vision Award Womenswear 2014 Competition
- A participant in the international jewellery exhibition ENCOUNTERS 2 in Budapest, 2014. (The jewellery from her diploma piece)
- A participant in the Nous voici, les voila exhibition, Paris, 2013 and 2015. (2013 – items from her second year, 2015 – items from her diploma piece)
- A scholarship from the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw for outstanding artistic achievements, 2013/14.
- A distinction during the Coming Out Best Diploma’s ASP 2014 at the Academy of Fine Arts (an award for the diploma collection created in Martina Spetlova and Damien Ravn’s studio)
- A participant in the exhibition Warsaw Calling, London Fashion Week, International Fashion Showcase, 2015.
Author: Karolina Sulej, September 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska, September 2015.